tv House Could Vote on GOP Health Care Bill After Gaining Key Support CSPAN May 3, 2017 6:13pm-6:26pm EDT
>> good morning, i'm greg walden, chair of the energy and commerce committee. we have been working day and night for months on the health care replacement bill. the president, the vice president, their entire team, dr. price, have been very, very involved in this all the way along wetch want to make sure our product is sound, that it works for the american people and that when issues come up, we address them effectively. i believe we've done that now with some changes to the legislation that we'll be bringing forward when it comes to the issue of making sure people with pre-existing coverage have the care and support they need. mr. upton, mr. long and others have put together some ideas that have been embraced by all sides and endorsed by the president, going to let them speak to that. before i do, i want you to hear from dr. burgess who chairs the health subcommittee and has been integral in this entire process as we moved it through the
energy and commerce committee and has worked on these issues for years and years. with that, i turn it over to dr. burgess. mr. burgess: the committee product worked on now over a month ago as it left the committee that evening after a very, very long markup i thought was a good product. but i always knew there were areas where it could be improved and we've listened, we've worked with members, i'll just have to say i appreciate the engagement of the vice president and the president, so to have their input and their thoughts on this, i think has been extremely instructive and helpful. and i think we're now in a good place. i look forward to us having a vote on this bill. i don't look forward to -- don't look for it to languish any longer. i'm anxious to vote yes and see what the senate will do with our product. thank you. mr. upton: i'm fred upton. let me just tell you how we got to where we are today. i support the bill with this amendment that's going to be
included as part of the rules package when we consider this likely tomorrow. i made it pretty well known last week that i was not comfortable with where this process took us after the bill left the energy and commerce committee. i made that publicly known. i sat down at length with chairman walden and chairman burgess earlier this week, monday night, with a number of colleagues and we talked about how we can add protections for those with pre-existing illnesses. staff wrote up my thoughts about that in terms of legislative language. i reached out to billy long last night. and what this amendment would do is provide additional funds directly into the high-risk pools to be spent for people that might otherwise lose their coverage because of a waiver that a governor would seek. it's our understanding that the $ billion over the five years
will more than cover those that might be impacted and as a consequence, keeps our pledge for those that in fact would be otherwise denied because of pre-existing illnesses. i talked to the president yesterday afternoon. i told him i could not support the bill as it was then moving through the rules committee without added protections for those with pre-existing ill ns. and based on our discussions and the agreement on this amendment, to now be in a place where i can support the bill with such amendment. i'll turn it over to billy long, my partner in this amendment. mr. long: i appreciate that, fred. my name is billy long, i'm from missouri, missouri's seventh congressional district, the show-me state. i heard joe scarborough say the other day, billy long is one of the newer members in kuok. i think the reason he said that is because i don't do much media
at all. i've been on cable i think three times, once for the tornadoes in joplin. i made the mistake of telling a reporter the other day that i was going to be a no. ever since i started running for congress, i'm not a member of the freedom caucus or the tuesday group or the study group, i'm a member of the show-me caucus, just one guy. i've got a very conservative voting record. when this came out and i saw pre-existing conditions would be handled like they were i had a problem with that. i mentioned that to one reporter. i usually do all this behind the scenes, i don't get involved with the media a lot. so anyway, the president called the day before yesterday, we had a 15-minute, 20-minute conversation, he wanted a yes. i was one of the president's earliest supporters. these guys can tell you back in 2015, i saw the trump train coming, i saw it was a movement. nobody believed me.
nobody thought i knew what i was talking about. but i saw that coming. so i campaigned for him. a lot of people wouldn't get out and campaign with him on the campaign trail. so i'm a big supporter of this president. i'm a supporter of this bill. now, the original bill i spoke 2 g and hard back on march 2 at our republican conference trying to get it through. i was always for the underlying bill. when they made what i consider the change to pre-existing conditions, that's when i said, i'm a no. the president said, billy, really need you. we need you man. i said, you don't have me. he said we need you. he called back yesterday, we need you, we need you, we need you. i said, i'm a no. and i stayed a no. i said fred upton and i have been working on some language that if we could get in there could get us both in the position where we need to be on pre-existing conditions, to make sure those people are covered -- covered because they need to be covered, period. i said that all -- i started
running in 2009 but after they pass odd ba macare, i said, there's two good things i like about it, pre-existing conditions and keeping kids 26 on their folks' insurance. i'll always stand for what i believe. it's probably got me in trouble with the right and the left. but that's where i am. and that's why you don't see much of me out here. i usually do my work behind the scenes. i try and put a lot of work in the committee and the energy and commerce committee. so today, we're here announcing that with this addition that we brought to the president and sold him on in over an hour meeting with him that we're both yeses on the bill. there's still work to be done an the votes, i believe. so we're still going to have to, i don't know where the vote count is. no one has shared that with me. we all still need to work for it. i'm happy to announce that the people in the seventh district of missouri will have pre-existing conditions covered adequately with this addition we
talked the president into. >> how far does your amendment go in preserving this idea of community rating for people with pre-existing conditions and where does the money come from to add in -- mr. upton: the money is in the bill. we signed off on the amendment last night. it's $8 billion over five years. the guess is that, you know, should a state decide to go for a waiver, that there would be fewer at the beginning than the end of the five years. so one billion is allocated for each of the first two years, two billion in the third, fourth, and fifth year. our guess is that that, i asked the question, the sense is that that is more than enough to cover those. and it is a -- as we wrote it, it is a direct result of those folks that otherwise may lose their coverage because of the waiver that's sought. so -- >> this was the real problem i
know you and other members had, that these premiums for people with pre-existing conditions were going to skyrocket. what would this do to keep those down? mr. upton: maybe i'll let greg answer this, but this money will put downward pressuren what premium increases are there. do you want to answer? mr. walden: let me address this first. the language in the amendment being proposed, the president has embraced, i think you'll see both sides in our party endorse. target that money to precisely that very, very narrow group of people. you're only talking about this occurring in the states that got a waiver, that had a high risk pool for people that might have not continued their coverage. and only for one year. because once you're in, you're in continuous coverage. it's a very small segment but it was something we cared about. so $8 billion should take care of that to buy down premiums. secretary price has the authority or whoever is the h.h.s. secretary, to make sure that these people are
appropriately cared for. if you're not in any of those situation, the underlying law stays the same, pre-existing conditions are protected for everybody else. it's a very, very tiny thing but we care about those people, that's why this is written the way it is. >> congressman upton what do you say to those with pre-existing conditions who are concerned there's still too much red tape o get coverage even under your amendment mr. upton: this targets those who would lose it because a governor could seek a waiver. i talked to my governor, michigan is not going to seek a waiver. under this governor, probably not under the next. but you may have some states that do that. this language is now specifically written for those states that may seek that waiver to protect those with pre-existing illnesses. now let's face it. this is the first step of -- actually it's probably the third step of what has been a long process.
27-hour markup, bill that passed through the committee, i think it is likely now to pass in the house. we'll see what happens i'm i'm not on the whip team. then it goes to the senate. there'll be a conference this bill will change from where it is today and likely, from my perspective and others, probably change for the better. >> did you guarantee the president you could get -- mr. upton: no, we didn't. i'm not in the whip -- we explained to the president, so yesterday, i read him back his statement. where he said that this bill would be just as strong on pre-existing illnesses as obamacare. i want him to keep that pledge. this amendment allows that to happen and covers those that otherwise might have been excluded because of the amendment that was adopted in rules.
>> was there pressure from the white house to change your mind? mr. upton: no. the president was seeking our opinion on -- probably a lot of my colleagues over the last number of weeks. again, when he called me yesterday, i told him i was a no. and i told him that i was a no because of the provision on pre-existing illnesses. and he said he wanted it covered. the guy that sealed the deal, billy long. billy long said, let us come down and explain to you what we are going to do to protect those folks and in fact that's what this amendment does. i got to get moving. my team has left me. i think it's likely up tomorrow but that's not my decision.